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Qatari Deal To Buy US Fighter Jets Raises Questions About Trump Administration Terror Policy

Every once in awhile - or all the time, depending on your perspective - there’s a decision forthcoming from the US government that makes some observers scratch their heads. One of them came up last week when it was announced that the Qatari government had reached a deal to buy $12 billion worth of US F-15 fighter jets. Arms and equipment deals with foreign entities are not an unusual occurrence at face value, but striking that deal when the sitting president has expressed concerns that the nation may fund terrorism is a bit on the strange side.

As the Huffington Post shares, Saudi Arabia and other regional allies have accused Qatar of funding terrorism. The US State and Defense departments have remained neutral in the squabble, but President Donald Trump has parroted the terror concerns about Qatar. Nonetheless, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed a deal with the nation last week.

“This is of course proof that U.S. institutions are with us but we have never doubted that,” a Qatari said. “Our militaries are like brothers. America’s support for Qatar is deep-rooted and not easily influenced by political changes.”

“We see it as a tangible show of support for our defense relationship and their commitment to the United States,” said a State Department spokeswoman.

The US has a rather large military base in Qatar, so the sentiment makes sense. However, there’s an incredibly awkward visual at play here. Has the US suddenly concluded that the Qatari government does not fund terror? Has Trump changed his personal stance on the nation?

Answers to those questions have not been forthcoming. Hence, the head scratching from some observers.

“Just like other countries, like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt ... it is natural for Qatar to buy airplanes or parts necessary for its own defense,” noted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

“Presumably the U.S. could have delayed the deal if they’d wanted to, although I don’t think there’s a great connect between sales and foreign policy,” noted a European diplomat.

Those are fair points as well, but this is also one of those situations that make it appear as if the US government is talking out of both sides of its mouth. In essence, one side is saying there are some really bad guys over there, but the other side is more than happy to extract as much money out of those guys as possible. That’s a bad look, and observers walk away confused and unsure what to think.

“Saudi Arabia is important and the Saudi King is respected by everyone. Our expectation from King Salman is that he be the leader in solving this problem,” Cavusoglu continued.

That may be the case, but a similar sentiment echoed by US leaders would go a long way towards making sure this wasn’t a head-scratcher to begin with. Clarity and accountability are really not too much to ask for in any kind of relationship, and that goes for the relationship between a government and its citizens as well.

Source: HuffPost
Photo: Newsy Screenshot

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